CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL
A number of infectious agents, including emerging pathogens and agents responsible for nosocomial infections, reach the blood during infection with severe pathological consequences such as septicemia and meningitis. Despite the availability of antibiotics these infections remain a major concern in intensive care units and emergency rooms. A better understanding of the mechanisms of disease is a necessary step to the identification of innovative treatments. We study infections caused by one such pathogen, Neisseria meningitidis, a Gram-negative bacterium. Combining the observation of clinical samples and the development of a humanized animal model we showed the importance of a process we call vascular colonization: circulating bacteria adhere along the endothelium of capillaries, proliferate and eventually fill the vessel lumen. This process triggers the vascular damages typically observed during infection, the vascular congestion, coagulation, inflammation and loss of vascular integrity. Because of the central role of vascular colonization, we explore its underlying mechanisms and consequences by a multidisciplinary approach combining microbiology, cell biology, vascular biology, innate immunity and physics. Our results allow us to build an integrated model that takes into account the multiple steps and host-pathogen interactions that take place during vascular colonization.
Contact: Carmen Buchrieser (firstname.lastname@example.org)